Saturday, June 26, 2021

Part Two of the Series Just for New Teachers

How to Successfully Support Difficult and Challenging Students


One of the most common problems faced by beginning teachers is the often perplexing problem of difficult and challenging students. Last week, in Part One, I covered some suggestions for avoiding classroom power struggles. In this part of the series, I want to provide some general suggestions to guide your thinking. 

First, coping successfully with challenging students is not something that can usually be managed in a day or so. Difficult students did not develop their behaviors overnight. Generally, the behaviors that are not appropriate for a classroom setting are ones that students learned over a period of time. With that in mind, you will be more productive and far more likely to help these students if you take a measured, well-planned course of action. Take your time and help your students learn how to be successful rather that just insist on compliance. 

There are all sorts of mistakes that it possible for even the most well-intentioned teacher to make with students who are struggling with school. If you find yourself having to deal with a disruptive student or two, you may want to consider if you have made of of the mistakes in this list below. Of these mistakes, perhaps the most common one is the last one--giving too much attention to students who are causing trouble in class. Instead of reacting in a negative way, ignore as much as you can and find ways to make these students feel that they are part of the class--not on the outside with nothing to lose. 

When you look at this list, do you see your own classroom leadership style? Could you be adding to the problem?

A final thought to help you with this issue is the biggest take away. Instead of being upset and negative and stressed out, adopt the attitude that classroom misbehavior is a problem that can be solved. You are no longer the victim of unruly students, but instead a classroom leader who is willing and capable of helping all students learn to manage their own behavior and succeed in your class. 

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